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Centre for Ideas

Addicted to dopamine

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Monday 15 August 2022 from 6:30pm to 7:30pm

Anna Lembke | Sana Qadar

Everywhere you look people are overindulging, but that’s not to say it’s their fault. We have unprecedented 24/7 access to deliberately addictive, high-dopamine stimuli – drugs, food, news, gambling, shopping, gaming, sexting, Facebooking, YouTubing and tweeting. Our lives are saturated by our own dopamine and our culture encourages us to pursue it.  

Speaking on her new book, Dopamine Nation, psychiatrist Dr Anna Lembke in conversation with the ABC’s Sana Qadar discusses the neuroscience of addiction and how we can find balance in a world flooded with these potent time-sapping (and often despair-inducing) lures.  

While dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is vital for health and happiness, too much dopamine too often tips the balance towards misery. Lembke will explain what new scientific discoveries can teach us about this relentless pursuit of pleasure, its relationship to pain and how this knowledge can inform our choices to make for more flourishing lives. She will share insights from her clients and their struggles to overcome these problems.  

At a time when we are all vulnerable to compulsive overconsumption, both understanding the science and learning from the experiences of others can help us break our own dopamine addiction. It’s high time to pursue healthier pleasures: genuine contentment with self and connectedness to others. 

This event is presented by the UNSW Centre for Ideas and UNSW Medicine & Health as a part of National Science Week and Sydney Science Festival. Head here to see full program.

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